What follows is a short(ish) write-up of the Department of English Role-Players’, or DERP’s, first meeting and the game played there. The game was run using Labyrinth Lord, a retro-clone of Tom Moldvay’s 1981 Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons set. The players are referred to by the names of their characters instead of their own names to protect the innocent. Some of the events and dialogue have been expanded and embellished upon.
In the Known Lands, a generic fantasy setting inhabited by dwarves, elves, humans and halflings, as well as an astonishing number of evil humanoid species and fantasy creatures ripe for slaughtering by adventurous individuals, a group of ten such individuals had found themselves in the village of Larm…
ALL PLAYERS IN UNISON: LARM!!!
…anyway, as I was saying, this varied band of merry fellows had found themselves in the village of Larm. Among them were Harold the Ratslayer, a halfling with a keen eye and a knack for shooting people with his shortbow, the mischievous elf Dobby, the wise (yet not very booksmart) cleric Angus Farmhand, the dark and mysterious cleric by the name of Kain, the senile and pantless magic-user Thorgram “Jeepers” Grimfell, the dwarf Brom son of Brom (future father of Brom), the flamboyant magic-user Garfunkel Whiz, the elven maiden Peggy-Sue Perkins, the noobish cleric Noobious the Noob, and Lyrah, a cleric.
LYRAH: She worships Hecate, the three-headed goddess of crossroads and magic.
Someone had obviously done their homework.
Anyway, this band of fellows had found themselves with a job at hand: the local church of Glenys, the Wise Mother, were apparently in need of help in clearing out an abandoned temple of Thaxon, the god of law whose worship had mysteriously and suddenly stopped in Larm some twenty years ago. To this end, the adventurers stopped a peasant in order to ask for directions to the temple of Glenys.
PEASANT: The church of the Wise Mother? It’s right there, on the other side of the road.
BROM: So, in addition to being dumb enough to be adventurers, are we also blind?
JEEPERS: Where are my pants?
Having made their way to the church of the Wise Mother (with Dobby leading Jeepers by the hand, lest the old man get lost) and agreeing with the high priest on a reward for finding out what was making all that god-awful racket in the abandoned temple of Thaxon, the group made their way to the abandoned temple (right on the top of a conspicuous hill that they had missed on their way through town).
LYRAH: This is a holy place, so I think we should conduct ourselves respectfully.
DOBBY: So, just loot everything but respectfully?
BROM: It’s a temple! It’s abandoned! What do you expect us to do?
In front of the temple the group did encounter the most fiendish of opponents: a barred wooden door.
BROM: I think we should open the door.
BROM: By using the doorknob, of course!
LYRAH: The door is barred.
BROM: Curses! Defeated by a door!
Having removed the bars from the door and opening it, the group did find themselves within the inner sanctum of the abandoned temple of Thaxon. The first floor of the temple revealed itself to be mostly empty, save for a few ceremonial (and very pricey) candlesticks, an altar to Thaxon (that the group made a point of investigating very reverently) and a holy book of Thaxon, found in the hands of its late but surprisingly mobile skeletal owner.
After dealing with the skeletal remains of a member of Thaxon’s congregation, the brave adventurers decided to investigate the lower level of the temple, where Dobby had already snuck down to. Dobby’s solo investigations had been cut short by Lyrah, who had followed Dobby down the stairs to the lower level to give the elf a stern talking to about splitting the party. At this juncture it was agreed by everyone that to better conduct themselves in their dungeoneering, it would be wise to vote for a party leader.
DOBBY: I nominate myself as party leader! I promise that everyone gets a fair share of the loot after I’ve had the best pickings!
BROM: I also nominate myself! I might not be the best public speaker, but I promise everyone an equal share of loot and equal opportunities to all regardless of race or class!
DOBBY: On second thought, I vote for Brom.
Having settled on Brom as their leader the group continued their way in the lower levels of the temple of Thaxon, with Brom at the head of the marching order, covered by his wing-elves Peggy-Sue and Dobby, with the trio of clerics and Harold in the middle and Jeepers tailing the rest of the group cluelessly. They found themselves in a hallway, the walls of which were covered in moldy tapestries.
BROM: I’m always on the lookout for structural imbalances and unusual stonework! I roll a dwarf check!
DOBBY and PEGGY-SUE: We keep a look-out for hidden doors! Elf check!
JEEPERS: I poke the tapestries!
Upon poking one of the tapestries with his quarterstaff, Jeepers unveiled a small niche in the stone walls of the corridor.
JEEPERS: I poke the niche!
BROM: Great job, Jeepers! It seems like we’ve found some kind of a sword hidden within this niche!
JEEPERS: …where are my pants?
BROM: Why, this sword seems to be of quite exquisite craftsmanship! And look at this, right there on the blade, it’s like someone’s written Thaxon…
After Brom had uttered the name of the deity of law out loud, the sword suddenly lit up, shedding light like a torch.
The sword stopped glowing.
The sword started glowing again.
EVERYONE: Thaxon! Thaxon! Thaxon! Thaxon! Thaxon!
FOR THAXON’S SAKE, WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP MESSING AROUND WITH THE SWORD?!!
The group continued down the corridor, destroying a number of skeletons and zombies on the way through the clever use of burning oil, until they found themselves faced with three pale priests whose fingernails and teeth had elongated and turned to sharp points.
GARFUNKEL: Oh shit, guys! These are ghouls! We need to take them out quick, before they can sink their teeth in us!
LYRAH: Never fear! I will call out to Hecate to repel these undead!
BROM: Okay, so you turn undead, me and the two elves and Angus go into the fray, Harold peppers the ghouls with his shortbow, and Jeepers… yeah, you keep doing what you’re doing.
JEEPERS: Where are my pants?
GHOULS: Are ve fightink nov?
The battle was the most straining on the group’s resources thus far. Even with his sword of Thaxon (which conveniently made it easier for him to hit and damage the undead) Brom struggled with the ghouls, and they even managed to take down Angus Farmhand, who was paralyzed by the ghouls’ nerve-wracking poison. When it seemed like all hope was lost for Angus, Jeepers suddenly stepped in.
JEEPERS: I throw the holy book of Thaxon at the ghoul! It’s a hit!
GHOUL: Ouch. Seriously, vhat is vronk vith you people? Vho throvs a book?!
Having summarily dealt with the undead threat and nursed the nearly dead Angus to his health, the group was finally able to pierce the inner sanctum of the catacombs to find what seemed to be the tomb of the founding cleric of the temple of Thaxon. Surrounding his sarcophagus were four more unliving abominations.
ANGUS: Guys, I don’t think my god, Glob, has put any limitation on how many times a day I can turn the undead with my holy powers.
LYRAH: Come to think of it, neither has Hecate.
KAIN: And neither has my god whose name shall not be mentioned TOTALLY NOT EVIL YOU GUYS!!!
ANGUS: So, I think the best course of action for us is for all of us to demonstrate our holy symbols in unison to repel these creatures, and for you guys to cut them down to size while they’re running away.
EVERYONE ELSE: Sounds like a plan!
THE UNDEAD: Ve’re pretty skreved, aren’t ve?
After eliminating the last of the undead menace in the temple of Thaxon, the group did inspect the tomb of the high priest. Within they found three ceremonial candles (summarily looted by Jeepers, who had been collecting candles) and another holy book of Thaxon.
BROM: So, um, we should check the sarcophagus. Just in case. Someone hand me my crowbar.
LYRAH: Brom! This is the tomb of a holy man!
BROM: Fine. Someone hand me my crowbar in a respectful manner.
Successfully prying open the sarcophagus, the adventurers discovered yet another reward: a sword very similar to the one they found in the niche.
YES, IT’S ANOTHER SWORD THAT LIGHTS UP WHEN YOU SAY THAXON!
With that, the unholy threat to the village of Larm had been eliminated and the merry band of adventurers made their way back to town to collect their reward! Their first day in the village had been very profitable, as they had been able to secure a number of magical artifacts and a large amount of wealth from the abandoned temple!
JEEPERS: …where are my pants?
Sadly, Labyrinth Lord’s equipment list doesn’t have a price for a pair of trousers.